Make a reservation

Party Size
For 2
Date
Today
Time
7:00 PM
icon/ic_social_proofCreated with Sketch.
Booked 22 times today

Laili

4.5
1771 reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$30 and under
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Mediterranean
Top Tags:
  • Good for a Date
  • Creative Cuisine
  • Good Vegetarian Options
For centuries a five thousand mile trade route has joined the Mediterranean to China through Afghanistan and India. Known mostly for the Silk Trade, the Silk Road has acted as a conduit of ideas, cultures, music, food & spices throughout all of its regions. Laili aims to bring the age old flavors and traditions of the Silk Road to life by creating a positive and relaxing environment with a culturally rich and flavorful dining experience.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Cuisines
Mediterranean, Afghan
icon/ic_clockCreated with Sketch.
Hours of operation
Lunch: 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM; Dinner: 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM, Friday and Saturday: 5:00 - 10:00 PM
Open Tuesday - Sunday

icon/ic_phoneCreated with Sketch.
Phone number
(831) 423-4545
icon/ic_new_windowCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_paymentCreated with Sketch.
Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
icon/ic_dress_codeCreated with Sketch.
Dress code
Casual Dress
icon/ic_locationCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_neighborhoodCreated with Sketch.
Neighborhood
icon/ic_cross_streetCreated with Sketch.
Cross street
Pacific Avenue
icon/ic_parking_detailsCreated with Sketch.
Parking details
Take advantage of free parking located on River Street at Front Street. In addition to metered street parking, there is also a parking lot at Front Street and Soquel and also at Locust Street and Pacific Avenue.
Additional
Banquet, Bar/Lounge, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Sort by
Newest
Filters
4.0Dined 2 days ago

Our server, Francisco, was very knowledgable about the menu for my friend who is vegan and has good sensitives. The appetizers and entries were very good.

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined 3 days ago

Wonderful! Food and service was excellent.

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined 3 days ago

Went for our anniversary and everything was great. Delicious food, great service, etc.

Report
Helpful
3.0Dined 4 days ago

I am very disappointed that you cannot connect with a live person to make reservations or ask question. I requested patio seating in advance and was not informed that it was not available until we arrived. In person contact is still important to many.

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined 7 days ago

we really enjoyed the food and service. we really had a great rime. I had anar chicken and it was very good.

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on June 10, 2018

Food is excellent and the patio is very nice. The Afghan tea was a pleasant surprise.

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on June 8, 2018

My best friend and I love Laili! We love the vegetarian choices, even though we are not vegetarians. The leek dumplings are to die for! The eggplant and cauliflower were perfectly spiced. Overall great meal!

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on June 8, 2018

Food was great and served promptly We had a large group and were all very happy with our selections.

Report
Helpful
2.0Dined on June 8, 2018

Food was subpar, just not good. Meat was dry, over seasoned and basmati rice was over salted. We were surprised of the high ratings...

Report
Helpful
4.0Dined on June 8, 2018

Amazing food, good portion size and fantastic kid's menu!

Report
Helpful
3.0Dined on June 7, 2018

We were disappointed in the way we were treated even after having reservations. We requested seating in the courtyard. That was denied. They tried to seat us in a booth and after seeing our tall friends struggle with that, they offered a table. We asked for a different, specific table but that was denied saying someone had already reserved that one. So somehow everyone else's reservation seemed to have more importance than ours. Possibly because we were "Open Table Customers?

Report
Helpful
4.0Dined on June 6, 2018

Food was delicious. Service was very slow to start and I almost thought our table had not been assigned to anyone. Finally someone appeared but didn't identify himself as the person who would take care of us. The way he approached us made me think he was the fill-in until someone else could get there. ["How about I get you started with some water while you wait." ]
Wait for what? Odd as he turned out to be the server.

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on June 6, 2018

One of my favorite dining spots in Santa Cruz. Food is fresh and healthy. The service is very friendly and accommodating. They have a nice wine list too. The trout is excellent; paired with the spinach watermelon salad it was yummy. My friend and I always share the meringue and strawberries dessert--so good. Reservations recommended as they are always busy.

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on June 3, 2018

The meal and service was outstanding. Terrific food and selections. Loved It.

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on June 1, 2018

amazing eggplant parm flatbread. Highly recommend. Good value

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on May 30, 2018

We had spinach and squash appetizers that were crispy and out of this world delicious! The sauces and wine were scrumptious! The eggplant flatbread I had only tasted like caramelized onions, not enough eggplant. Maybe there was no eggplant, as I asked for "no cheese". ? I tasted my friend's cauliflower rice dish and I wish I had gotten that, it was so yummy: basmati with saffron and cauliflower in a heavenly curry sauce? Mint is used in an amazing way in these dishes, and the yogurt is so creamy and light tasting. We split a mousse for dessert and it was dreamy delicious!.

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on May 28, 2018

My wife and I had the privilege of sitting in the courtyard. It is beautiful out there. The service was incredibly kind and hospitable. They described all the sauces our food came with and always made sure we had everything we needed. The food was absolutely amazing. Everything we ate tasted like nothing we've ever had before (in the best way possible). We will be making Laili's a regular date night spot for sure.

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on May 27, 2018

Wonderful setting, delicious and creative fusion food, and excellent, attentive servers. The owner is extremely personable and kind. We had a beautiful evening.

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on May 27, 2018

It was a pleasure all the way around! The food - and the coffee - were fabulous and the service was friendly and great!

Thank you!

Report
Helpful
3.0Dined on May 26, 2018

The food is mediocre but the service is nice.

Report
Helpful
3.0Dined on May 25, 2018

I drove all the way down from San Mateo to Santa Cruz becuase someone recommended me this restaurante. It was my girlfriend birtday and when I arrived I didn't have my table ready when I booked it early in the morning... they prioridate one couple who were sitting and we were the next. I told the host if there is any special cake becuase of the birthday and he said, yes we have a nice cake and I will tell the server for you. The food was so so but our waitrer didn't pay much attention. At the end our meals he drop the check and I didn't get the cake. I defenetely I would never come back again. I work for a restaurante and i didn't have a great attention.

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on May 21, 2018

Made a special trip to Santa Cruz and researched restaurants in the area. We decided on Laili because we love Med cuisine especially lamb kabob. Laili exceeded our expectations, the lamb was so tender and flavorful along with the veggies, rice, and dipping sauces. FANTASTIC!!! Our server Fuller was just great and so attentive!! Great ambiance with high ceilings and calming art work on the walls.

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on May 20, 2018

INcredible service! Will definitely be back. The Mantoo was a little undercooked (based on my past experiences with the dish) and my filet mignon was a little on the rare side, but the flavors were on point as usual and I can't wait for my next special occasion there! They also brought out my cupcakes with a candle and it was perfect :)

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on May 18, 2018

I reserved on line through open table and requested outside seating, and received confirmation. The confirmation failed to mention that I had a reservation for inside and that outside seating was full. It would have been helpful to receive this information on line and not after I arrived at the restaurant.

Report
Helpful
4.0Dined on May 16, 2018

Great food! I cannot repeat that enough! The bread and sauce were phenomenal and the butter nut squash appetizer , scrumptious. I recommend ordering the salmon pasta. The service was a bit to be desired. While it was a busy night, my drink and appetizer orders were incorrect. The waiter was "gone" a lot and did not really service our table.

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on May 14, 2018

Mother’s Day 5/13/2018
The noise level in moderately loud indoors due to a full house, acoustics, the sizzle of cooking flames and din of the open plan kitchen.
We were a party of 6 seated inside at a table for 4 with two seats added at either end of the table. This was really tight & I didn’t think we’d be able to fit all the plates, glassware for 6 & appetizer plates comfortably. At the time I made reservations online I had requested the enclosed outdoor garden, but when we arrived the outside tables were filled. While we were waiting, about 5 minutes, for the last person in our party to arrive, a party of 6 was just leaving & the hostess was able to move us quickly to a beautiful table outside.
It was thoroughly relaxing & peaceful amid the string lights & plants, making for easy conversation.
The soft tea lights; the warmth & glow of the gas flame heaters were perfect.
Self serve bottles of water were brought to our table. The lamb & filet mignon kabobs were tender, the vegetables firm & rice perfect; the middle eastern flat bread, Lavash, fresh & soft, served with tabouli, pesto & 3 dipping sauces. Everyone was too full for dessert. I had a French pressed coffee, which was smooth.

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on May 14, 2018

I love Laili. It's a wonderful place for special occasions or date night. Delicious food, great service, and a simple but elegant atmosphere. I can't wait to go back.

Report
Helpful
4.0Dined on May 13, 2018

The food was really nice for light lunch. The eggplant flatbread was especially good. The service was quite inefficient. I had to check in twice because the hostess forgot about me, in spite of having a reservation. There were a lot of people waiting for tables and a lot of tables sitting empty.

Report
Helpful
4.0Dined on May 12, 2018

Good food in Mediterranean/Afghani style. Friendly environment for all types of purposes. It has outdoor seating that is great for lunch

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on May 9, 2018

We’ve been fortunate to be able to dine at Laili twice in the past month – both times for special occasions. We always request a table outside. Even if it’s getting a bit cooler in the evening, the restaurant’s heat lamps take the chill off.

We far prefer outside to the more cavernous interior. Outside, it’s another world. You could be in any number of cities all over the world. Wonderful alfresco dining.
Both times we’ve dined at Laili recently, there were 3 of us. We all like to split dishes. For 3 diners, we always order at least one of the appetizers: a frequent favorite is Bolani. There is another starter that is made up chunks of butternut squash with a wonderful yogurt sauce, to be eaten with flat bread. For three of us, we also order at least one of their delicious salads.

The restaurant is great about accommodating “gluten-free and grain-free” diets. I always request a swap: extra vegetables instead of rice.. For those of you who can eat grains and bread, they have the most delicious flatbread and toppings.

As for entreés, one of my favorite dishes is the pomegranate eggplant with chard. Their trout is also spectacular: flavorful and filling. I am not a big fan of the kebabs – they tend to get a little dry. But I’ve really been wanting to try the lamb shank. Perhaps next time!

Since it was my daughter‘s birthday, and also because she’s a pastry chef, she ordered three desserts for the table...”for research.” The truth is that she is picky about her sweets and didn’t want to pass up a great dessert experience. There was a wonderful flourless chocolate torte with Sabayon cream and a raspberry sauce. I enjoyed every morsel. We also ordered a meringue concoction with what looked like strawberries. Plus the pistachio cardamom ice cream—it has a great flavor profile: creamy, delicately spiced, with a modest nut crunch. It is my second favorite after the chocolate torte.

Looking forward to our next meal at Laili.

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on May 7, 2018

Great food, great ambience, great service. Would definitely come here again

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on May 5, 2018

Always great food and service...beautiful environment too! Eggplant with their yogurt/sauce is unique and delicious--Go and make yourself happy-visit Laili in downtown santa cruz

Report
Helpful
4.0Dined on May 5, 2018

Food is good although the main courses not up to the standard of the appetizers.

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on May 5, 2018

Food and service were great as usual! I had the salmon which was cooked perfectly! Laili is a lovely, "go to" dining experience every time.

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on May 3, 2018

Laili was an amazing, pleasant surprise! Most everyone I know loves Mediterranean food, but Mediterranean food with an Afghan twist got all of our attention, and it did not disappoint! The lamb shank was so perfectly cooked it was falling off the bone; the pomegranate touches on the chicken and eggplant were fun, unusual touches, and the spices in the braised lamb pasta took me to another country. None of us can WAIT to come here again!

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on April 30, 2018

Vegetarian Food was very good. Ambiance was nice and had some room to ourselves. Service very good - water refilled often. I will go back.

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on April 30, 2018

Our meal was outrageously delicious. We can't wait to return. The homemade thin bread with the middle eastern plate was fantastic. That in itself could be a meal but the caesar salad is lovely and the filet mignon kebobs were outstanding.
Thank you for a lovely evening.

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on April 29, 2018

The food was delightful, and delicious. Service attentive but not hovering. Definitely will go there again when in Santa Cruz.

Report
Helpful
5.0Dined on April 28, 2018

Lovely service and location and fabulous cuisine. Everything we’ve had over our several visits has been pure perfection. We will certainly return again and highly recommend to all.

Report
Helpful
4.0Dined on April 28, 2018

We have been there several times in the past 5 or so years and the food and atmosphere is always great. Very enjoyable.

Report
Helpful
1
2
3
45